About the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)

A regional forum for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction

Following several discussions and regional workshops, the general consensus amongst Southern Cape conservation authorities is that an encompassing regional Forum be formed, providing access, support and informal partnerships to all environmental focus groups and forums.

The GREF is supported by the Garden Route District Municipality: Environmental and Disaster Management, the Fund for the Reconstruction of Knysna and the Eden District (FRKED), the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association (SCFPA) and the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) Secretariat.

Aims and Objectives of the Forum

To develop a climate-ready environment through coordinated efforts.

The suggested GRE Forum to fulfil a leadership role in order to coordinate and communicate regional environmental actions, e.g.

  • Reflect environmental and conservation actions, programmes, initiatives, events, planning and cooperative efforts by participating entities by means of quarterly/bi-annual meetings
  • Implement a public engagement programme, allowing civil society (including conservancies/ individuals/academics the opportunity to show-case environmental actions/ proposals/ initiatives
  • Create a web-based platform allowing interested and affected parties to obtain relevant and updated information on regional programmes


Categories of interest 

  • Climate change
  • Climate adaptation
  • Coastal and management and coastal vulnerability
  • Drought relief actions
  • Invasive alien plant management strategies
  • Wetland management and conservation
  • Energy and alternative energy
  • Biodiversity and biosecurity
  • Water security and conservation
  • Water technology
  • Fire management/ fuel load densification and reduction
  • Research support (in similar vein as the Fynbos Forum)
  • Stakeholder engagement and communication
  • Awareness and training
  • Media material and development
  • Hosting of Forum events/ seminars


Participating Entities

GREF caters for a core group of registered and active organisations, as well as civil society conservationists and the general public with an interest in conservation, on different platforms and communication channels.

Core group of statutory entities

  • Regional municipalities (Kannaland, Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Oudtshoorn, Bitou and Knysna)
  • Provincial conservation bodies (DEADP)
  • DEA National
  • Garden Route Biosphere Reserve
  • Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve
  • Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agencies (CMA)
  • Southern Cape Fire Protection Association (SCFPA)
  • Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI)
  • Key land managers (e.g. SANRAL/ Eskom/ Transnet)
  • CapeNature Conservation
  • SANParks
  • Nelson Mandela University: Sustainability Research Unit (NMU/SRU)


Civil society conservation groupings

  • Weed forums
  • Conservancies
  • Media
  • Practitioners
  • Service providers
  • Academics
  • Interest groups
  • Landowners